I Can Love You Better Now.
I cannot survive without touch. Yet, I found it so difficult to allow you to touch me.
There were times when I longed to feel your arms wrapped around me. Sometimes I ached to feel your breath on my skin, your beard scrub my face, and your hands sweep across my breasts. But when we got too close, I shrank.
I died a little every time you were near. Not because I didn’t want you here, but because I did.
I wanted to be close to you. I wanted to inhale your exhale. I wanted to see my reflection in your eyes. I wanted to be rattled by the vibration of your laugh. I wanted to be awakened by the rumble of your snore.
But the cavernous space between us was filled with too many tries and apologies. The silence that settled into the gap was sharp and thick. I carry the scars from the prickliness of our speechlessness. The words that we could not find were lost here. Here in this cavern, where the aggression of our passivity had become too much to bear.
I said I loved you, and I wanted to, but love does not behave this way. Love does not posture or ignore. Love does not lie in wait for the other to utter the first word. Love does not use silence as a weapon.
Love is only present when the heart is open. And my heart was not open.
I padlocked my heart in an effort to protect it. And it grew callous with resentment.
I wanted to blame you. The list of all the ways you had wronged was miles long. But this was not your fault. You were not responsible for the bitterness that settled into my bones.
I chose it.
It was I who constricted when I was being called to expand. I was the one who held my breath, to ensure that I remained angry. I alone decided to withhold my love, choosing aggravation and irritation instead.
I did not know how to love in the midst of discomfort. I never learned how to exist in the duality of disappointment and fulfillment.
Expansive love was never modeled in my home. I did not witness peaceful resolution and healthy disagreement. Arguments were resolved with either volatile screams or angry muteness.
I learned how to stay mad.
And while our dysfunction looked different from what I knew, it was dysfunction just the same.
I came into our union with heavy bags. But I left empty.
The lack of communication unhinged me. It tore a hole through the shroud of familiarity. I could no longer sit in the dankness of our reticence.
To love you properly, I had to leave. Not because I wanted to, but because love could not breathe in the same room with you and I.
I needed to grieve your absence, so that I could meet the woman in the mirror. She had been waiting for me.
She needed me to hear her story and hold her hand. She told me things I did not know. She shared her fears and her dreams. She tended to my wounds, and she helped me to forgive. I learned so much from her.
I did not know I needed permission, until she gave it to me. Permission to be myself. To love without condition. And to be okay with my imperfections. Her wisdom melted my defenses.
She is the reason I have fond memories of you. The space that once existed between us has been filled with forgiveness. And although we are no longer an us, I can love you better now.
Stacey Herrera is a body-love and pleasure advocate for women who are ready to enjoy, explore, and hear the wisdom of their bodies. Her sensuality-focused work helps her clients to be more present and cultivate deeper relationships. Stacey enjoys helping women to bridge the gap between sensuality, sexuality, and spirituality, because life is meant to be sacred and delicious. You could contact her via her website.